Twentieth Century Music and It's Reflection of History

Essay by David PetersonCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 1996

download word file, 8 pages 4.1

For many hundreds of years, man has enjoyed and played music for various reasons: meditation, dancing, rituals, entertainment, to express feelings, to reflect on past events and to show what is happening in his world. In the Twentieth Century, music has been used for all of these, but none have been so important to making this country what it its today as the music that has reflected on past events and that shows what is happening in the country at the time that it was written.

The 1930s was the first decade of the Twentieth Century in which the music of the time reflected what was happening in the world around it. The Great Depression left its imprint on the music more than any other event of that time. Most of the music of the 1930s offered relaxation to the battered soul. Popular songs of the time brought the listener into the despair of the times apparent in songs, such as 'Stardust', 'Solitude', and 'Blue Lovebirds Die Alone'.

World War II brought along a new attitude in it's music. Songs of the WWII era showed split ideas about the war. Some works made the American People aware of the dangers of democracy while most songs emphasized it's blessings, giving Americans a patriotic, anti-Fascist attitude. One popular song of the time was Earl Robinson's 'Ballad for Americans' which emphasized the strongest support for the war at that time.

In the mid-1950s, a new style of music known as Rock 'n' Roll became prominent. This music was a combination of all the popular styles of music that preceded it. Three styles of rock: R&B rock, country rock, and pop rock; were evident at this time. Culturally, white teenagers were the dominant members of society, but the most popular form of rock was...